“What is it?” Wednesday #17

Another day, another dollar, and another puzzle! Let’s hear it for puzzle #17… a tricky little photo of an obvious item (obvious to us, anyway!). Have fun guessing— please leave us a comment with your guess, and check back in with us on Friday for the answer to our puzzle. All answers will be published then as well.



Welcome, summer!

Warm sunshine, freshly made lemonade complete with lemon slices, a boat ride, juicy watermelon (seed spitting contests included), and sitting outside in the early evening to watch the fireflies. These are some of our favorite summer things. We request you to leave us a comment with your favorite summer pleasure. We would love to add your comment to a master list, and next week we will be posting the official Create & Decorate Guide to Simple Summer Pleasures. The summer days and nights fly by so quickly. We invite you to enjoy life’s little moments. We will be posting this list for you to print out and use as a check list to accomplish one simple pleasure for each of the remaining days of summer. By summer’s end, you will be able to look back and remember all of the little moments you took joy in.

Noelle has informed me that we are inviting you to enjoy summer, although we are not! Ouch. So, we are creating this list for us to enjoy, too. Take time to smell the flowers, friends. We know we need to as well. 🙂

One of you lucky commenters will be randomly drawn to win one of our favorite summertime books, Summer: A user’s guide. (yay!) The author of this book, Suzanne Brown has packed these pages with ideas for living life to the fullest in the summer months. You will find crafts, recipes, and nostalgia, as well as enticing photographs that will make you feel like you are on vacation even if you are only reading in your own backyard.

“What is it?” – #16 The answer

Noelle and I know we left you friends feeling a bit frustrated with last week’s puzzle. To make it up to you, this week we brought you a friendlier guessing game. As many of you thought, this week our vintage item is a matchbox holder. The box slides in the top of the holder, and the hole on the side allows you to strike the match against the box. Thank you for sharing an overwhelming amount of guesses (and family reflections). As always, you made us smile. Click here to read the guesses. See you for another puzzle next Wednesday. Happy weekend!

“What is it” Wednesday #16

Fancy meeting you here on Wednesday! Here we go… puzzle #16. You know how this works by now: leave a comment with your guess, and check back in with us on Friday to see the answer to this puzzle and read the posted guesses!

Strawberry Upside-down Cake

I wrote about our strawberry adventures a few days ago, and also let you know about our strawberry recipe contest.

Looking at the berries I had left over (there wasn’t too much–fresh berries never last long around here), I mentally went through my tried-and-true strawberry recipes: stawberry shortcake, jam (which I did make), strawberry scones, and strawberry muffins. After some deliberation, I decided I wanted to make something I had never tried before. There was a delicious-looking Strawberry Summer Cake from Smitten Kitchen that I had been drooling over for awhile, but while sitting in the office, I asked Beverly if she had ever had strawberry upside-down cake. “Do you think it even exists?” I asked her. “It has to,” she said. “Google it.” But before I did, I realized why I had thought of this cake: I had already seen it, on the delightful blog Joy the Baker.

It’s an easy recipe that comes together pretty quickly, and yields a moist cake with a sticky, sweet, berry-filled top.

Joy’s recipe calls for cardamom, but I didn’t have any so I just used a little cinnamon, and it turned out quite nicely. The batter is thick, so I got a little worried when I was spreading it out over the berries, but if you dump it all in the middle of the pan and spread outward (like you would when icing a cake) it works fine–I only started at the outside for picture-taking purposes.
You can find the recipe at the end of this post.
Speaking of recipes…we know you didn’t forget about our strawberry recipe contest! I got the ball rolling, so don’t forget to send your recipes to editors@createanddecorate.com by June 30th. You could win a one-year subscription to the mag!

Strawberry Upside-down Cake

recipe found on http://www.joythebaker.com

makes: one 8-inch cake

For the Topping:

2 tablespoons unsalted butter

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 cup sliced strawberries

For the Cake:

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

2/3 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom

2/3 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

I used an 8-inch round with 3-inch tall sides.  You can also use a 9-inch round with 2-inch sides.

Place butter in the cake pan and place in the oven.  When butter is melted, remove pan from the oven.  Using two pot holders, tilt the pan around and around, coating the sides of the pan with butter.  Once sides are coated, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cardamom.  Set aside.

In the bowl of an electric stand mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, cream butter and brown sugar on medium speed.  Cream until slightly pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Stop mixer, scrape down the bowl with a spatula, and add egg and vanilla extract.  Beat for 1 minute.

Turn the mixer off, scrape the bowl, and add the dry ingredients.  Beat on low speed while adding the sour cream.  Beat until the batter just comes together.  Batter will be pretty thick.  Remove the bowl from the mixer and finish incorporating ingredients with a spatula.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar into the melted butter in the cake pan.  Sprinkle strawberry slices over the butter and sugar in a single layer.  Spoon batter over the strawberries and spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cake rest for 10 minutes before running a knife around the edge of the cake and inverting the cake onto a cake plate.  Serve warm with sweetened sour or whipped cream.

What is it?” Wednesday #15 – The answer

Well, we really stumped you with this puzzle, didn’t we? This little toaster was picked up at a yard sale for one dollar (and a smile). It is still in working condition but might have a promising future as a cute mail holder on the kitchen counter (unplugged, of course). To read the amazing guesses click here.

And because you were all such terrific sports with this difficult “What is it?” puzzle this week, we are giving away the book The Joy of Hobby Farming by Michael and Audrey Levantino, (from Skyhorse Publishing)! We have randomly drawn the name from our guesses, and Dorene Nagy has won this prize! Congratulations, Dorene. Please send us an email with your full name and mailing address at editors@createandecorate.com. (We just love our readers, and those who aren’t afraid to take a wild guess. xo)

Doubtless God could have made a better berry, but doubtless God never did. –William Butler

What berry was this 17th century English writer speaking of? Why, the strawberry of course! Some may beg to differ (who knows, there may be some hardcore raspberry fans out there), but you cannot deny the pure joy that comes from the very first strawberries of the season. They make an appearance when the harsh winds of winter give way to warm rays of sunshine, flowers begin peeping from the soil, and all the fresh produce begins to tempt us from farmstands. At this time of June here in the Northeast, we can count on strawberries (whether they’ll be good or not is another story–I’m looking at you, Mother Nature, in all your fickle glory).

There is a strawberry farm only 10 minutes from the Create & Decorate office, and when they are ready to be picked, the strawberry balloon can be seen flying high above the farm. Beverly drives by it every day on her way to work, and I have been pestering her for a few weeks now with “Is the strawberry flying yet?” Living in this area all of my 27 years, I will admit, it excites me to see it just as much now as it did when I was little, and my parents used to take my sister, brother, and I to pick strawberries on hot June afternoons. We would be dressed in our oldest clothes because we would inevitably return home covered in sticky red juice, our bellies bulging with who knows how many strawberries picked right off the stem, warm from the sun and perfectly sweet.

And now, it has become a new tradition for Beverly and I to head over to the farm, grab a basket, and start a-pickin’.

Here’s us, just being silly (cause, you know, we’re usually incredibly professional):

Okay, it’s pretty much just me being silly. Beverly looks quite lovely, and yes, very professional.

And of course, we had to sample some (just don’t tell the farmer that, cause I’m pretty sure that’s frowned upon).

Okay, I had to include this picture because, well, look at it! Tell me I do not look like a giant in this picture! ROOOOOAAARRR! I’M COMING TO EAT YOUR STRAWBERRIES!

It’s also become a tradition for us to eat at a nearby diner (we do this after we go junking, too). We are in Jersey, after all. It’s a cool retro one, see?

Mmmm…cakes ‘n pies.

We had yummy BLT’s. But that’s another story for another day.

And, um, I don’t know what I’m looking at, but apparently, it’s interesting:

A lesson to you all: don’t be around Beverly and a camera. She likes to take your picture when you’re not looking.

And that’s the end of our strawberry adventures—which means we now have a bounty of sweet little jewels that are just begging to be made into a big ‘ol pile of deliciousness. So how about you share your favorite strawberry recipe with us? Puh-leeeease? You could win a one-year subscription to Create & Decorate! Yahooo! Just send your recipe to editors@createanddecorate.com by June 30th. Including a picture would be helpful (but not required), so we know it turned out right when we make it 🙂 Happy strawberryin’!

“What is it?” Wednesday #15

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

This week we have been a little tricky with an optical illusion for our game, but if you friends have been following our junking adventures on facebook, it is easier than you think!

Please leave us a comment with your guess as to what this item is, and check back with us this Friday to read the guesses and see the full photo answer. 🙂


We have obviously frustrated you loyal “What is it?” Wednesday fans with a tough puzzle. So, to make amends, here is a CLUE: The above vintage item is something always found in the kitchen, and was probably used daily.


Just for leaving a guess, Noelle and I will randomly draw one winner from the guesses on Friday, June 17th, to be the recipient of  something summery and fun..

The red and white and starry blue is freedom’s shield and hope – John Philip Sousa

We are pleased to offer you this crochet project intentionally created for you, Create & Decorate blog friends, in honor of Flag Day.  Our friend, and designer, Vickie Zelizo answered our request with this one-stitch wonder in timely fashion. Perfect to use as a mat for your table (wouldn’t it look great as a candle mat?), or tack proudly behind a twig wreath on your front door all summer long, we are sure you will find numerous ways to display!

Crochet Flag

Designed by Vickie Zelizo

This only stitch used is a single crochet, which makes this patriotic piece a very easy and quick project. (Perfect!)

Scan of finished piece to show truer color and detail


1 ball Lily Sugar ‘n Cream, color Country Red (A)

1 ball Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Twists, color Barnboard Twists (B)

1 ball Lily Sugar ‘n Cream Denim, color Blue Jeans (C)

Size H (5 mm) crochet hook

Full Stripes

With A chain (ch) 37.

Row 1: Single crochet (sc) in second ch from hook, sc across. [36 sc]

Rows 2-4: Ch 1 turn, sc across.

Row 5: Drop A, pick up B, ch 1 turn, sc across.

Rows 6-8: Ch 1 turn, sc across.

Continue to sc 4 rows of each color as follows:

4 rows A

4 rows B

4 rows A

Add the Blue Field

Row 1: With B, ch 1 turn, (ch 1 counts as the first sc) sc in the first 20 sc, drop B, with C, sc in the next 16 sc.

Row 2: Ch 1, turn, sc in first 16 sc, drop C, pick up B, sc across.

Rows 3-4: Repeat last 2 rows.

Row 5: With A, ch 1 turn, sc in the first 20 sc, drop A, pick up C, sc next 16 sc.

Row 6: Ch 1 turn, sc in first 16 sc, drop C, pick up A, sc across.

Rows 7-8: Repeat last 2 rows.

Repeat last 8 rows. Fasten off. Weave in the ends.


Chain: ch

Single Crochet: sc

“What is it?” Wednesday # 14 – the answer

Happy Friday! Well, this was a fun puzzle. Many of you knew immediately what this week’s item was, but there were also great guesses, too. (Click here for those.)

This week’s item is a David Traum 1950’s skirt hem pin marking tool (that’s a mouth full!). I acquired this vintage piece from my friend from church, Wilma. Whenever I utilize something that belonged to Wilma I smile to myself. We use many of her vintage fabrics to accent pages in Create & Decorate magazine, and also use glasses purchased from her collection while styling for our photography. If you would like to read our original post about Wilma, click here.

See you next Wednesday for more fun!